Government calls for probe into arms procurements in 2001-2003


SYRIZA and Independent Greeks (ANEL), the two parties that share power in the ruling coalition, on Friday called for a parliamentary investigation into defense procurements during Socialist veteran Yiannos Papantoniou’s stint as defense minister between 2001 and 2003.

The joint proposal pointed to “indications of breach of faith” in connection with the purchase of Leopard tanks, Apache helicopters and electronic warfare systems, among other procurements. All political opposition parties bar the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn backed the SYRIZA-ANEL proposal for a probe into the procurements.

Commenting from Paris on Friday, Papantoniou described the initiative as “a disgusting public relations stunt which serves narrow political interests.” He added, “For 14 years, all the contracts of the Defense Ministry have come under the meticulous scrutiny of administrative and judicial authorities and no evidence, or suspicion of evidence, has been found of illegal or irregular acts or shortfalls by me.”

Last month the Supreme Court upheld the four-year jail sentences handed to Papantoniou and his wife Stavroula Kourakou at a previous trial which found them guilty of submitting inaccurate declaration of wealth statements (“pothen esches”). The court’s criminal section rejected the couple’s appeals as “groundless.” The pair was given the option of paying off their sentences.